March 28, 2017
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Beauty and the Beast Review

Porcelain patriarchy’s latest portrayal of Stockholm syndrome success story

March 17, 2017, 1:10 pm

Is your masculinity feeling fragile? Fear not, delicate dudes, for the fraternity of frivolous bros in Disney’s newest live-action movie-musical has enough beefcakes and bestiality for audiences of all ages.

Director Bill Condon’s (Dreamgirls, Kinsey) adaptation of the 1991 animated film of the same name illustrates the story of a cursed narcissistic prince (Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey) and a thoughtful, young woman (Emma Watson) who inevitably falls in love despite the meager machismo and brutish advances of resident asshole Gaston (Luke Evans from Fast & Furious 6). With the help of his house staff, Lumière (Trainspotting’s Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Lord of the Rings’ Ian McKellen) and Mrs. Potts (Love Actually’s Emma Thompson), the Beast is able to prove he’s worthy of Belle’s love through manipulation and coercion. Spoiler alert: The two lead characters inevitably fall in love and Gaston is the winner of the No Belle Prize.

The Beast, who never once gives his real name and doesn’t correct anyone when they call him such, tears Belle from her ailing father, falsely imprisons her, uses threats of violence and withholds food to convince her he’s “not like most guys,” only to triumphantly win her over with his extensive collection of leather-bound books. Modern romance. 

While the introduction of new songs, bright colors and subtle hints of Lafou’s queerness (portrayed by Book of Mormon’s Josh Gad) were distracting from the ragtag bunch of feeble fellas this film has to offer, Belle’s line rang true that “there must be more than this Provincial life.” Perhaps maybe a plot point that doesn’t center around the alienation or objectification of women who make their own choices? Just a suggestion.

Running a nearly unbearable two hours-plus, this film has all the fun-loving problematic characters we know and love from the original animated version. However, the best review for this film is probably a vague “ehhhh” noise and a noncommittal wiggly hand gesture. 

 

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